MTWALUME MURDER UPDATE: ‘It’s like a horror movie’ – family member

UPDATE: December 28

A memorial service for the slain family was held at the Presbyterian Church in Port Shepstone last Saturday.

One member of the McKenna family said they were still coming to terms with the murder.

“It’s like a horror movie and we just can’t comprehend what happened on that day. We appreciate all the love and support everyone has shown.”

Meanwhile, a family friend from London has set up a Gofundme account, ‘Hope and healing for the McKennas’.

The message from Shirene Fulton reads: “The four lives were tragically taken from the community many of us hold very close to our hearts: One that holds our childhood memories and will remain our home regardless of where we have moved on to.

“The lives of those we know and love who are left behind are changed forever and they will never fully recover from this horrific loss. We know that funding can not bring them back or take away the pain but we do know that it can help. It can help with all sorts of costs, grief counselling and day-to-day assistance in just getting through.”

She added that the McKenna family were always a kind, helpful and caring family and many had fond memories of sharing their young lives with them.

“We are now spread far and wide across the world and are looking to provide support in any way we can,” she said.


UPDATE: December 21

The memorial service for the four people murdered in Mtwalume and then left in a blazing house on Tuesday this week will take place at the Presbyterian Church in Port Shepstone tomorrow (Saturday, December 23) at noon.

The four deceased are Jeffrey Julyan (34), Ethan Julyan (9), Kayla McKenna (16) and Peter McKenna (73).

Meanhwhile, a man who survived the fire has been been released from hospital and is with family, recovering.

He had been taken to hospital on Tuesday after he showed signs of smoke inhalation.

Police have impounded the vehicle (which had been left parked outside the house) that had been driven by Jeffrey Julyan.

No arrests have been made yet. Police are investigating cases of murder and arson.

Many South Coasters, as well as others from around the country (and world) have taken to the Herald’s Facebook page, sharing their grief, prayers and thoughts with the Julyan and McKenna families.

                                                        The roof of the house collapsed due to the blaze.

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Police spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Zandra Wiid said police from Hibberdene, paramedics, and firefighters from Umzumbe Municipality had been called to the burning beach-side home, situated in a quiet neighbourhood, at around 7pm.

There police found a man (whose name is known to the Herald) outside the house.

“It is believed he lives at the house,” she said. “He showed signs of smoke inhalation and was taken to hospital for treatment.”

Once the fire had been extinguished, police discovered the remains of four people in the bedroom.

Police confirmed that the victims had gone to the Mtwalume house to visit earlier in the day and also to collect some furniture.

Jeffrey Julyan worked at Halfway Ford, Kayla McKenna was a grade 10 pupil at Port Shepstone High and Ethan Julyan attended Port Shepstone Junior Primary.

Herald reporters were particularly saddened to learn about Kayla who spent a week in the newsroom in October as a work experience student. She had been a particularly enthusiastic student and had enjoyed going out with reporters to cover various stories.


Fourteen years ago, on April 27, 2003, just metres from the same Mtwalume home, the body of Kenneth Gary van Aardt (51) was found buried in a shallow grave.


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Sugan Naidoo

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